Hypothetical - Interchange Bench

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Post by Flag No.10 on Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:11 pm

Last week after the Collingwood v. Geelong game, Leigh Matthews commented that the last 15 minutes of that game was the most enjoyable to watch because the players were too tired to adhere to structures and clog up space. The game then becomes like “old-fashioned” football, with far more contests.

The modern game (whatever you think of it) is only possible because players can be ‘rotated’ off the bench to recover from the massive amount of running they’re required to do. But this was never the intention of the interchange bench. The original idea was to allow players removed from the field because of injury to come back on once (if) recovered. Rotating players on and off the interchange bench is an abuse of the intent behind the original rule change.

So, what would happen if we reverted to a reserves bench? That is, once you come off the ground you are not allowed back on ( an extension of the current one substitute rule.) There would be arguments that it raised OH &S issues but, I would argue, only if players were still asked to run the same distances. My guess is that it would make it impossible for players to do as much running as they do now. Would it therefore help reduce the incidence of floods, zones, clusters etc. and, especially at sub-AFL levels, give us a more traditional, and perhaps more enjoyable game?
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Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:03 pm

This doesn't answer your question completely, but for as long as I can remember the afl have tinkered with the rules to make the game faster.

Just perhaps the introduction of the substitute rule has had the effect of slowing it down, if you take Leigh Matthews observation as read.

By extension, this hypothetical would slow it down further as the same amount of running at speed just couldn't be sustained.

So which is better fast or slower? Very hard to say conclusively. Maybe this season will define how well the substitute rule has affected the spectacle.

But what I do think is that the umpires simply cannot get decisions right consistently with the game played at breakneck speed. And these errors can have too much influence on the contest.

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Post by Ben W on Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:25 pm

As much as I dont like to give credit to the AFL, the game has improved markedly since the introduction of this rule.

Historically there was no Reserves Bench at all, then it was one, then two, three and now four. To see it used as a rotation bench is a not a good thing IMO as its meant as an injury bench, I would like to see the subs increased to two to bring it more in line with what was intended originally, yet still allowing the coach to rest the odd player.
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Post by howthewestwaswon on Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:52 am

Because of OH&S, I dare say the Player Union would kick up a huge fuss.

I would have thought that you could either restrict the number of interchanges each team could have (something that was attempted to bring in but failed) or have a mandatory time off (i.e. if you come off, you cannot go back on the field for 8 min) but effectively it is the same thing as the first suggestion.

The fact is, these days it would be easy for players to sue the AFL if they had a career-ending injury, something the governing body would want to avoid because it'd open up a huge can of worms.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the interchange or better OH&S brought in because of the Neil Sachse incident?

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